Enjoying the Season While Avoiding Stress – Tips from Mary Atkinson, Director of Wellness

Tips for keeping the stress at bay this holiday season
Do you have a love-hate relationship with this time of year? You love the vision of family and friends brought together to celebrate and the fantasy shown on Pinterest or in magazines, but you hate the pressure you feel to create some idyllic experience? Our director of Wellness, Mary Atkinson, has these suggestions to reduce the stress and up your enjoyment of the season:
  1. Review your calendar
    It’s easy to fill up your calendar with events and gatherings and feel rushed at every one. Sit down with your family and discuss which events are actually truly loved and which have just become routine. Perhaps the annual potato latke cook-off is a must do for the whole family, but the bike ride around Winterhaven lights is no longer top of everyone’s list. Remember those quiet moments with loved ones where you’re not doing anything but lighting candles together and savoring the moment can be the most precious.
  2. Celebrate the season
    Don’t focus on one day. We can get hung up on creating the ‘perfect day’ pinning too many hopes on one day. Refocus on the little moments of beauty, kindness and community that you experience throughout the month.
  3. Ask for help and delegate
    Whether it’s sharing the responsibilities of a fancy meal for a horde of family and friends, sending cards to the family or wrapping gifts for all ask for help. Perhaps make the feast more potluck and the cards can be written and addressed by other members of the household? Working together can be memory-building in itself.
  4. Indulge with balance
    Tis the season of festive gatherings and indulgent eating. Nutritionally speaking, this is a tough time of year. We don’t want to give up delicious holiday dishes; however, we would rather not wreck our health through weeks of unhealthy eating. Fortunately, with a few modifications and a little moderation, we don’t have to do either. Check out registered dietitian Laurie Ledford’s suggestions here. Remember to take time to breathe and to take a walk after dinner or a hike with the family.
  5. Recognize and remember
    During holidays loss and estrangement can feel particularly hard. Terri Waldman, former director of the TMC Geropsychiatric Center, shared these wise words, “Your heart has no obligation to be jolly. Take the time to celebrate cherished memories but be open to new rituals. If you find you are having a hard time coping and can’t shake the sadness, though, don’t try to tough it out. It may be time to see a primary care physician.”
  6. Learn to say no
    Saying yes when you should say no can leave you resentful and overwhelmed. Friends and colleagues will understand if you can’t participate in every project or activity.
 
No matter whether your house will be full to the gills or quiet this holiday season, we hope the season is healthy and full of hope.
From our family to yours best wishes,
Mary Atkinson
Mary Atkinson is a registered dietitian and TMC’s Director of Wellness. You can find out more about the programs that the Wellness Department offers the Tucson Community here.

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Tucson Medical Center | 5301 E. Grant Road | Tucson, Arizona 85712 | (520) 327-5461
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